Job cuts not ruled out as ‘efficiency dividend’ set to hit NSW public sector
The New South Wales Government has rejected union predictions almost 12,000 public service workers are set to be axed, labelling the claims “rubbish”.
A day after Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dom Perrottet launched their 2018-19 NSW budget, the duo were on a spruiking tour today, touting the benefits of the policies across NSW.
But it was the Government’s announced “efficiency dividend” which sparked the interest of unions.
The 2 to 3 per cent dividend applies to all Government departments, with the Premier and Treasurer looking at generating savings of around $1.6 billion over the next four years.
The Public Service Association today claimed the dividend would equate to nearly 12,000 job cuts.
Though she would not rule out job cuts, Ms Berejiklian described the union figure as “rubbish”.
“We do employ lots of people,” she said. “We have the biggest public service out of all the states and we need to make sure we’re working for the people everyday.”
“It’s really important to note that technology has allowed us to provide better customer service for our citizens.
“It doesn’t have to do with job numbers, that’s not what this is about.”
In a statement, Public Service Association general secretary Stewart Little said frontline jobs would go.
“Childcare workers, prison guards, park rangers, teachers assistants, disability carers — thousands upon thousands are going to be sacked over the next year so their departments can make budget,” he said.
“Only the most zealous neoliberal could possibly think this situation is reasonable or sustainable.”
NSW Shadow Treasurer Ryan Park said the Treasurer was taking a knife to frontline workers.
“He’s introducing an efficiency dividend the likes [of which] this state has never seen before that will result in thousands of job losses and a huge impact on frontline services,” Mr Park said.
“This is a Government that can say it’s all about technology efficiencies, [but] the reality is this is a Government that doesn’t like frontline public services.”
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Treasurer Perrottet refuted the claims.
“We want our public servants working for the people of New South Wales, and if the Government can’t find 3 percent in savings, I think that’s a problem,” he said.
“We know that we can do things better, all governments can do things better.
“Importantly, we don’t believe the PSA’s claims are true at all.”
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley is set to give his budget reply speech tomorrow.